The Courage to Start Small and Live Big
I’ve always been a ‘doer’. My whole life I liked lists and forms and a specific outline for how to ‘do’. Which is why I find my journey so comical because nothing about it has followed a path that could be written on a check list.
Like most women, I wear lots of hats. I’m a mom and a wife and a dreamer of big things. I’m a writer and I love to help people get in touch with their passion and purpose to live authentically. I do this by helping them ‘Start Small to Live Big’.
I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years, and had some great successes. I built a career in sales and owned my own business, I did some incredible things with my fitness, ran a marathon and won bronze medal in the Pan American games in Olympic Lifting and owned a CrossFit gym.
But it wasn’t until my daughter started having extreme anxiety that I found my true purpose. She was eleven and was having anxiety attacks at school. After going from doctor after doctor, I learned it was her amygdala, that controls your freeze, fight or flight response, that gets over stimulated and causes her to have these attacks even when there is no real threat or danger.
I was working as a nutrition coach at the time, and I recognized this same thing in my clients but on a much smaller scale. I would ask them to do something outside of their comfort zone, something that would make them grow, and they froze. When we would do our follow up a week later, they would tell me they wanted to do it, but they had some resistance they couldn’t explain.
It was how my daughter explained her anxiety, just on a smaller scale.
So I started experimenting with both my daughter and my clients, giving them something SO small that they could basically tip toe past their amygdala. If they went small enough, that freeze, fight or flight response was never triggered and each time they did something new they effectively pushed the threshold farther and farther.
My clients started doing things they never thought they could do before, and my daughter was having success too. Today, she goes to the biggest high school in Georgia, with over 4,000 kids, and thrives.
I believe that we are all candles, but we have to fall into the darkness to know what we were really meant for.
I think that is what happened with me. As this was unfolding, I realized my purpose was much bigger than I originally anticipated and I decided to make the leap to do this work and I pushed my business of nutrition coaching aside. It was so exciting and so terrifying all at the same time.
I was building steadily with my nutrition business, had a best selling book on Amazon and although I wasn’t living large with my paychecks, I felt happy knowing I was contributing to our family. But something never felt right. It was scary to leave that small cocoon of security and turn my back on that path. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t the direction I was truly meant to be on and when my true path became clear, I recognized it and took the leap.
When I decided to change my focus, I had deep discussions with my husband about my plans. We determined a time frame that I could be without income and what I thought my steps should be. I was realistic and as we’ve reached each benchmark, we’ve talked and made decisions together.
I slowly closed my nutrition business, as each client felt successful and graduated, I didn’t replace them with someone else. I wrote a new book about my work with Starting Small called Start Small, Live Big: Thrive through change to live the life of your dreams. I started speaking, sharing at schools, talking to anyone who would listen! I feel like I have a great message that can help people and as the mission became clear, it became easier and easier to see the path.
I am still growing and changing every day. Some days I feel like the things I’ve learned in the past few months could fill up another book entirely. I’ve learned that growth isn’t for the weak and if you’ve got a mission to help people you have to be willing to deal with some of the hard stuff in your own life too.
One of my biggest obstacles has been staying in my zone of genius. When we are getting started as entrepreneurs we have to do lots of things that we aren’t great at because we may not have the money to outsource those things right away. I find doing ‘batch’ days really helps me. This is where I focus on just recording my podcasts, or just writing blog posts, or just creating graphics for an entire day. It keeps me focused and if its something I don’t enjoy, I don’t have to dread it day after day, I just get it out of the way all at once. This process really helps my creativity and staying positive, which is vital for someone working for themselves.
Someone I really admire is Glennon Doyle Melton. She’s an author, a truth teller and an incredible speaker. She took a dark time in her life, learned from it and now shares with others so we don’t all feel so alone. I think being that authentic is a special gift.
One talent I wish I had was to be able to sing! I sing in the car and in the shower, but when my daughter was young she heard me singing and started to cry. I knew right then there probably wasn’t a singing career in my future! I’m okay with that.
When my friends think of me, I think they probably think I’m super positive. I practice gratitude every day. There is so much goodness around us and our lives are truly what we focus on.
My motto is Start Small Live Big, because there is NOTHING you can’t accomplish if you break it down small enough. Nothing!
I’m most proud that I have raised such a kind daughter. I’ve asked her before, “What do you think I’d want most for your life?” She hesitated and said, “I was going to say happiness but I think it’s for me to be kind.” Absolutely. Kind people are happy people. Kind people are brave people. We have two choices in this world and two choices only; Love or Fear. Always shoot to choose love.
I hope in the future more roads will open up to me where I can work to serve others. Maybe it will be with more speaking opportunities and holding workshops or maybe in some other way I haven’t even thought of yet. I feel confident that my path is set, I just have to trust and take action on the ideas and opportunities that come to me.
One piece of advice I’d give to women who are just embarking on their journey is to figure out where you want to go and then set up small steps to get there! You can move mountains if you chunk it down. Take action when it comes to you. Ideas are little gifts from the universe so don’t let them pass you by. If you can’t take action right then, write them down and save them for later. You may not end up doing that exact action, but it may lead to some other creative path that is on your journey.
Find some mentors. If you can’t find them live, find them in books. There is so much to learn from others who have gone before you and although your path is unique, knowing that the challenges you face are universal and can be overcome will give you strength in the dark times.